The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are locked in a battle of wits as the clock ticks towards this weekend’s governorship supplementary elections in some states.
While the PDP chairman in Kano State, Alhaji Rabi’u Suleiman Bichi is boasting that his party is ” always ever prepared to win ” the election, the APC dismisses the statement as wishful thinking .Leaders of the two parties in Sokoto State are also racing against time to tidy up loose ends ahead of the Saturday supplementary polls.
“We are more than ready, especially as we have won the election conducted on the 9th of March. We are happy that the security agents have ensured security of lives and property of everybody by protecting the electorate,” Bichi told The Nation in Kano.
“We have already won the election. The only thing left for us now is to consolidate on the areas where the rerun will be held. We have no fear as we are battle ready for the rerun.”
But the Kano Commissioner for Information, Youth and Culture, who doubles as the Chairman, Publicity Committee of the Kano APC Campaign Organization, Malam Muhammad Garba dismissed PDP’s position as wishful thinking.
He said: “we are very confident of victory because the local government areas where the rerun will take place remains an APC stronghold and the electorate in these areas have made up their mind to vote massively for the Governor they trust.
“I believe that from what is happening, we are very much prepared this time around; and as such, there is no cause for alarm because we have been able to identify some grey areas in the conduct of the inconclusive election, and we have taken cogent measures to ensure that by God’s grace, we will win the election.”
Declare Jime winner now APC elders call on INEC
The Elders Council of the APC in Benue State have asked INEC to declare the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Emmanuel Jime as winner of the March 9 election.
The elders council said it had been informed of plans by anti-APC elements to disrupt the supplementary election in the party’s strongholds.
Addressing reporters in Makurdi, spokesman for the APC Elders Council, Chief Terlumun Akputu, asked INEC to cancel votes in in Guma, Buruku and Logo areas of the state where, according to him, card readers were not used on March 9.
He added: “There is nowhere in Nigeria where the APC recorded zero votes except in Guma Local Area despite having candidates and agents who he said were chased out of the polling units.”
Parties busy with strategy meetings
Ranking members of the two parties in Sokoto State have been holding meetings upon meetings to emerge victorious in the supplementary polls.
Stalwarts of the PDP were summoned for one of such meetings at the Government House, Sokoto on Friday.
The State Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, said: “We are going by the electoral umpire’s arrangement to participate in the coming supplementary polls across 136 polling centres across 22 local governments.
“We have no fears whatsoever. Only that certain things are going wrong which is making the atmosphere a bit uncertain. We are hearing that the opposition is mobilising stalwarts from other states.
“Our concern is that there should be transparency in the conduct of the rerun. I can assure you that the process is credible and transparent, PDP will win. Otherwise, we won’t accept it. Especially where we notice foul play”, Milgoma pointed out.
His APC counterpart, Alhaji Sadiq Isah Achida, said his party was equally set for the supplementary election.
He said:”Those cancelled polling units are our strong holds. We want fresh sets of INEC officials for the rerun. We have the belief and conviction that those that conducted the last elections had been compromised.
“Kebbe local government is our traditional strong hold where supplementary polls will be conducted in 35 polling units.”
Achida, after speaking to The Nation left for Sokoto east where the party expects huge votes from Gada, Rabah and Goronyo among others to woo the electorate.
Court injunction threatens Adamawa supplementary election
The situation in Adamawa State is not all that clear following a court injunction restraining INEC from conducting the supplementary election.
An Adamawa State High Court judge, Justice Abdul-Aziz Waziri, gave the ruling in a suit filed by the governorship candidate of the Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), Rev Eric Theman.
The judge said, “The defendant herein, INEC, is restrained … from proceeding with the supplementary election in respect of Adamawa State governorship pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
While the APC says the court action is in order the PDP is of the view that it is a non- issue.
The state secretary of the APC, Mr. Wafarninyi Theman, said: “From what I have seen, the complainant has a genuine case, except INEC comes out to tell us that this party was not cleared for the election. But it’s a legitimate party and it had a legitimate candidate to contest in the election. And if they didn’t find the logo of their party on the ballot paper, it means they were deprived of the chance to be voted for. So, I think INEC should have admitted in the first place that they made a mistake. However, we are waiting for the response of INEC.”
On his part, the state chairman of the PDP, Mr. Tahir Shehu said, “We do know that by the provisions of the Electoral Act, no court of law can stop the process of election. So the purported order is invalid. INEC is not bound to comply with it… The law says no court can stop either primary, general or supplementary election. Notwithstanding, we are taking steps to get that order set aside.”
Police ban rallies in Bauchi
The Bauchi State Police command on Friday banned political rallies because of the violence that broke out in parts of the metropolis during a protest over the planned supplementary election.
It said: “Sequel to the declaration of Bauchi State Gubernatorial Election held on 09/03/2019 as inconclusive by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and subsequent scheduling of rerun election on 23/03/2019 in some parts of the State, the Bauchi State Police Command calls on the good people of the State to remain calm and avoid any act capable of causing breakdown of law and order at this critical time.
“With regards to some reported cases of attacks on innocent members of the public by suspected Sara-Suka thugs which most times emanated from political rallies in Bauchi metropolis, the Command wishes to assure the members of the public that, it is on top of the situation and is taking necessary measures to deal with the menace once and for all.
“Consequently, for the interest of peace and harmony, the Command has placed a total ban on all forms of rallies and procession in the State without its approval.
“It is done in the best interest of peace loving people of the State and to ensure that, the relative peace and security in the State is sustained,” it assures.
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